I know it's not safe to have hearing completely blocked with earplugs while bicycling or driving. But there are a lot of vehicles on the road in China with extremely loud horns. I just had a truck blare it's horn next to me and it's still painful 20 minutes later. Is there a type of hearing protection that is safe to use when driving or riding?
You could try ear protection which are designed to attenuate not eliminate noise. Currently dubs seem to be popular, designed for concerts and reduce sound by 12db only. But there are other options out there.
DUBS Acoustic Filters are advanced tech earplugs that reduce volume without sacrificing the clarity of sound
I've never tried them, but they get good reviews and people successfully use them for other uses.
A few other options with different sound attenuation but still claiming clear sound: "20db high fidelity" and "three exchangeable filter sets for low, medium and high protection".
Until Doppler Labs launch their earbuds that:
let you customize how the world sounds around you
it's the best option i know. Be safe!
Almost all earplugs sold for work situations.
When working you are not supposed to block out all sounds and responsible employers will supply earplugs that take out the hard edge of sounds but not all of it.
The plugs you see for sale for travel are OK as well as long as you do not have the 'wax, you will not hear a sound when sleeping' kind.
And I have heard that many 'in ear' earphones reduce sounds without blocking all of it, just make sure you do not get the top of the range which comes close to blocking all sounds.
In-ears-earphones from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, these are the top end and might block more than you like.